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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Flaxseeds!

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This weeks superfood is the Flaxseed!!

Flaxseeds are a vegetarian/vegans best friend (among many others) in terms of getting a plant based version of Omega-3 fatty acids since we don’t eat fish and therefore can’t get them that way.

This little seed is also a great source for fiber, lignans, protein, calcium, iron and vitamin E.  Once opened it should be stored in the refrigerator to keep form going rancid.

Another great thing about flaxseeds is that they make for a great egg substitute when added with water.  It forms a gel-like mixture similar to egg whites.  Stir 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed in 3 tablespoons water to replace 1 egg. 

Health Benefits:

1.) Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Omega-3 fats are used by the body to produce Series 1 and 3 prostaglandins, which are anti-inflammatory hormone-like molecules.  Omega-3 fats can help reduce the inflammation that is a significant factor in conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine headaches, and osteoporosis.

2.) Omega-3-rich Flaxseeds Protect Bone Health

Alpha linolenic acid, the omega-3 fat found in flaxseed and walnuts, promotes bone health by helping to prevent excessive bone turnover-when consumption of foods rich in this omega-3 fat results in a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diet.(Griel AE, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Nutrition Journal)

3.) Protection Against Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes

Omega-3 fats are used to produce substances that reduce the formation of blood clots, which can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

Omega-3 fats are also needed to produce flexible cell membranes. Cell membranes are the cell’s gatekeepers, allowing in needed nutrients while promoting the elimination of wastes.

4.) Flaxseeds Help Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure

Individuals whose diets provide greater amounts of omega-3 fatty polyunsaturated fatty acids-and flaxseed is an excellent source of these essential fats-have lower blood pressure than those who consume less, shows data gathered in the International Study of Macro- and Micro-nutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP) study (Ueshima H, Stamler J, et al. Hypertension).

5.) Rich in Beneficial Fiber

Flaxseeds’ omega-3 fats are far from all this exceptional food has to offer. Flaxseed meal and flour provides a very good source of fiber that can lower cholesterol levels in people with atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, reduce the exposure of colon cells to cancer-causing chemicals, help relieve constipation and stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Flaxseeds are also a good source of magnesium, which helps to reduce the severity of asthma by keeping airways relaxed and open, lowers high blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, prevents the blood vessel spasm that leads to migraine attacks, and generally promotes relaxation and restores normal sleep patterns.

6.) Flaxseed Puts the Brakes on Prostate Cancer Growth

Flaxseed, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and lignans, put the brakes on prostate tumor growth in men who were given 30 grams of flaxseed daily for a month before surgery to treat their prostate cancer.

Practical Tip: Study participants took the flaxseed in a ground form to make it more digestible, and mixed it in drinks or sprinkled it on food such as yogurt, cereal or salads.

7.) Special Protection for Women’s Health

Eating about an ounce of ground flaxseed each day will affect the way estrogen is handled in postmenopausal women in such a way that offers protection against breast cancer but will not interfere with estrogen’s role in normal bone maintenance.

Flaxseed is particularly rich in lignans, special compounds also found in other seeds, grains, and legumes that are converted by beneficial gut flora into two hormone-like substances called enterolactone and enterodiol. These hormone-like agents demonstrate a number of protective effects against breast cancer and are believed to be one reason a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk for breast cancer. Studies show that women with breast cancer and women who are omnivores typically excrete much lower levels of lignans in their urine than vegetarian women without breast cancer. In animal studies conducted to evaluate lignans’ beneficial effect, supplementing a high-fat diet with flaxseed flour reduced early markers for mammary (breast) cancer in laboratory animals by more than 55%.

For women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, breast cysts, headaches, sleep difficulties, fluid retention, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, weight gain, lowered sex drive, brain fog, fibroid tumors, and heavy bleeding, a probable cause of all these problems is estrogen dominance. Typically, during the 10 years preceding the cessation of periods at midlife, estrogen levels fluctuate while progesterone levels steadily decline. Flaxseed, by promoting normal ovulation and lengthening the second half of the menstrual cycle, in which progesterone is the dominant hormone, helps restore hormonal balance.

8.) Flaxseed Reduces Hot Flashes Almost 60%

9.) Fend Off Dry Eyes

Women whose diets provided the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids had a 17% lower risk of dry eye syndrome compared with those consuming the least of these beneficial fats.
That may have been way more info than you could ever imagine about flaxseeds, but take from it what you want and leave the rest! 🙂

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Red Juice Inflammation Buster!

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I have come to absolutely love and adore Ginger.  The more  I learn about various superfoods and the amazing properties that they hold and can do for our bodies I become totally entranced with them!

I’ve decided to begin featuring various superfoods each week and go into depth with all that they can do.

Today’s superfood is….drumroll please…. GINGER!!! Lol in case you hadn’t already figured that one out yet.

Last week my mouth was a bit inflamed, something was very wrong with the right side of my mouth, in that I couldn’t seem to chew without being in immense pain… so to counter that inflammation I decided to go the natural remedy route and start poppin LOTS of ginger, as it is an anti-inflammatory Superfood! (that and cinnamon).

So last week I had lots of cinnamon on my oatmeal, then made  an anti-inflammatory juices with lots of ginger.  Then I made a lemongrass ginger miso soup! BAM!! I probably reeked of ginger! Lol

To sum it all up, 3 days later, no more pain!! It all went bye bye!! Woohoo!!

Anti-Inflammatory Juice

3 Carrots – peeled

1 Beet – peeled

2 big nobs of Ginger

1 Blood Orange – peeled

*Put into juicer and let the amazing juicer do its job!

*Pour into a fancy glass and enjoy!

(note: this will turn your toilet bowl pink!! it’s perfectly normal, no need to rush to the hospital!)

Ginger Health Benefits: (All information below can be found at my favorite website for nutrition info WHFoods

– Anti- Nausea remedy (reduces the feeling of needing to puke)

* In fact, in one study, ginger was shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter and prescription drug for motion sickness. Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating.

– Aids in digestion (gastrointestinal relief)

– Anti-Inflammatory Effects

* Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. In two clinical studies involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who didn’t, physicians found that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling.

– Protection against Colorectal Cancer

– Ginger induces cell deal in ovarian cancer cells

– Immune boosting action

* Ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus. A good sweat may do a lot more than simply assist detoxification. German researchers have recently found that sweat contains a potent germ-fighting agent that may help fight off infections. Investigators have isolated the gene responsible for the compound and the protein it produces, which they have named dermicidin. Dermicidin is manufactured in the body’s sweat glands, secreted into the sweat, and transported to the skin’s surface where it provides protection against invading microorganisms, including bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (a common cause of skin infections), and fungi, including Candida albicans.

Hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the amazing benefits of Ginger!!!  I know I do! (but we know I’m a nerd that way, so just roll with it! Lol)

Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Sorry for the absence of late everyone… I’ve been a bit all over the place with job hunting lately and haven’t gotten around to getting on here and typing stuff up.  Though I have had plenty of ideas of topics I’d like to write about.

So for starters I am going to share with you something I saw on another blog and thought it was just fantastic!! So I’m abridging it a bit and sharing with you my favorite ones 🙂

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone – and doing a bit of good in your daily life

1.) Don’t say “yes” when you mean “no”.  It’ll make you resentful.  Say what you mean and mean what you say

2.) Try to make a gratitude list each day.  Include big things and little things.  Invite your friends to make their own lists; you can all email one another each day, sharing your gratitude.

3.) Call your parents or grandparents.  Sometimes, a five-minute phone call is all they need to feel loved.

4.) Curb your jealousy.  Be happy for others.

5.) Be willing to be wrong.  If someone has a grievance with you, really try to see her point of view.  If called for, apologize.  It’s hard to do, but it feels really good and makes life so much easier.

6.) Be a good friend to your friends.  Tell them what’s good about them, that you appreciate them, and make the effort to spend time with them.

7.) Go vegetarian.  Animals raised and slaughtered for food suffer immeasurably.  Visit http://www.GoVeg.com for a free vegetarian starter kit.

8.) Do your best to think good thoughts.  They affect your health, happiness, and the people around you.

9.) Practice accepting compliments.  The person complimenting you is giving you a gift.  Receive it graciously, even if it is difficult.

10.) Be generous with your compliments.  Don’t blow smoke up anyone’s ass.  Just say nice thing when they occur to you.

11.) Forgive those who have wronged you.  Holding onto anger and resentment poisons your body and your life.  There are no benefits in staying mad. Let go. It’s okay.

12.) Forgive yourself. It’s okay to be imperfect and to have made mistakes.  Try to do better, that’s all.

I love those suggestions…. or rules… or guides… whatever you chose to call them.  They all make perfect sense.   I think my favorite one is number 9 because personally I have such a difficult time with that one.  It all boils down to self esteem.  If you don’t have enough self esteem and don’t think all that highly of yourself then there is no way you are going to accept someone else who is complimenting you.   What I have found is that those who are giving you a compliment when you blow it off take it as an insult.  They find it annoying that you are brushing it off.  So even if you may not agree with it or find it difficult to accept, just keep that part to yourself, smile and accept it, and move on.

So copy those down and post it on your desk or your refrigerator at home, somewhere you will see it every day.  That’s what I did!! 🙂

Happy Monday!

Spring Forward Everyone!!! (literally!)

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Did you all spring your clocks forward an hour??

It’s that time of year where the days are finally longer!!! This makes me super happy.  I love/need lots of sun to make me happy and productive.  I also need warmth…. hence why California is calling my name 🙂

This past week ended in a bit of an upset.  I lost my job on Friday, rather unexpectedly, so I now find myself scrambling to find a new job.  But me being the organized person that I am, I have put together a list of places to apply this week, so that makes me feel a bit put together.   As one of my co-workers said to me on Friday after work, “when one door closes, another opens…. you’re going to be just fine Erin, I just know it.”

 

So moving on to what makes me happy, and that would be cooking and sharing with you all lovely readers what I whip up, I shall share with you what I made this weekend.  I made two things this weekend, though the second amazing thing I did not take pictures of 😦  I was too mesmerized by its unbelievable deliciousness, even my roommate was in awe of how amazing it was!! Perhaps I’ll have to remake it just to be able to photograph it! Lol

Moving onward….

Celery Root Black Bean Apple Slaw

1 small/medium sized Celery Root (peeled)

2 small granny smith apples

1 Tbsp organic stone ground mustard

1/4 cup Nayonaise – Flax Oil Mayonaise (vegan)

1/4 tsp ground ginger

Juice from 1/4th of a lemon

1 can organic no salt added black beans – rinsed

Himalayan Sea Salt to taste

Black Pepper to taste

 

* Cut in quarters the apples and celery root

* Attach shredder attachment to food processor and shred both celery root and apples

* Transfer to bowl and add remaining ingredients, fold into shredded mix with rubber spatula

Enjoy with a nice cup of green tea!  (and make sure your cat does not eat it before you do!)

 

My cat has a strange obsession with Celery!!! (she must take after me because she can't stand tuna! LOL)

 

 

 

I am on a mission to find the most excellent recipe for Irish Soda Bread in honor of St. Paddy’s day coming up.  Anyone know of any??

Bikram Yoga

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A few years ago I discovered Bikram Yoga (aka Hot Yoga) and fell in love.  However due to the usual lack of mullah due to being a full time student I could only go every so often, whenever I could take advantage of the new student packages.

To explain what Bikram Yoga is here is the explination off of the Bikram Yoga website

Bikram Yoga is the 26 postures Sequence selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga.

It has been proved and experienced by millions that these 26 postures systematically work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, all the veins, all the ligaments, and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.  Each component takes care of something different in the body, and yet they all work together synergistically, contributing to the success of every other one, and extending its benefits.

Bikram Yoga can be practiced under the guidance of a certified Bikram Yoga Teacher at one of the affiliated Bikram Yoga studios.

These studios are built in such a way that you always get the proper heating (104F) which help you to do your postures optimally. Bikram calls these studios as “Torture Chambers”.

It sounds a bit crazy at first, and the first couple times you do it you think to yourself “why the hell am I doing this” but then after you leave the class the feeling you get of being cleansed and refreshed is what brings you back over and over again.

So  a co-worker and I have become workout/diet buddies to help keep each other on track so that we can get back in shape.   Both of us have sort of fallen off the exercise wagon  since starting our job and falling victim to hibernation mode.   I’m sure many of you can relate.

But never the less, getting back in shape and healthy again always works so much better when you have a buddy to do it with to help kick you in the butt when you start feeling a bit sluggish!  I feel this should be a mandatory thing, every one should have a workout buddy!!

So we signed up for the new student special, which is a 6 class package, and will be extending it out to 2 classes a week until it runs out.  Then I’ll hit up my old studio to do their new student special Lol  my philosophy right now is to save money for California but also get back in shape the cheapest way possible!

What things do you do to cut back on costs, but still manage to keep up with your fitness routines and hobbies?


Fat Tuesday!

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Have you gotten any Mardi Gras beads today?? I haven’t but oh well Lol

So to celebrate Fat Tuesday I decided to have pancakes since I grew up always going to Fat Tuesday pancake suppers at my parent’s respective churches when I was a youngster.  However, instead of your regular pancakes I made sweet potato pancakes with a spinach pesto!!

Can we say DELISH!? I think I should get some beads for this concoction 🙂

Sweet Potato Latkas

Lightly adapted from Spark People

2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded

1/2 cup green or white onions, finely minced

1 Tbsp dry parsley

1 tsp dry stage

2 Tbsp flax meal

2 Tbsp boiling water

1/2 lemon

1/4 cup brown rice flour

Celtic sea salt (course) to taste

Black Pepper to taste

* Pour boiling water over flaxmeal in a bowl and let turn to gelatinous mass.

* Mix sweet potatoes and onions with lemon juice

* Add Seasonings, flour and flax – mix together

* Heat oil (coconut oil) – drop spoonfuls on hot pan, use fork to spread out into a thin pancake

* Cook until corners are browned and crisp, flip – cook till golden

Spinach Pesto

2-3 cups baby spinach

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 large garlic clove

Lemon Juice – to taste

2 tsp sesame seeds

1/4 cup raw cashews

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Salt to taste

* Put all ingredients into a food processor, and process until fully blended.  May add some spinach if taste is too strong.  This recipe is really to each persons own taste, so you can add a bit more of any ingredient until you find the right combination 🙂

BEADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Before I’m 30 List

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Last year on my birthday it all of a sudden hit me that… “oh my god! I’m going to be 30 in 3 years!!!”  I then felt this overwhelming urge to make a list of things I want to do before I hit the big 3-0!

** The funny thing abut that picture above is that shortly after I made my list of things I wanted to accomplish before I’m 30 I entered my first 10k race (one of the first things on my list) and look what my race number was!!!!! Totally weird but awesome huh?!?!

Call it a Bucket List before 30 if you will…. regardless, it gives me a sense of purpose and gives me some motivation to accomplish some fun goals.  I work well with lists and goals, they are my best friends Lol

So what’s on my list you ask?? Well here ya go…

Before I’m 30 I want to…

1. Run a 10k

2. Run a Half Marathon

3. Run a Marathon

4. Half Triathlon

5. Triathlon

6. Muddy Buddy

7. Learn French

8. Become more fluent in Spanish

9. Learn Guitar

10. Move to California

11. Learn to Break-dance

12. Take a cooking class

13. Take an art class

14. Start dancing again

15. Visit 5 Countries I’ve never been before

16. Take a long road trip and sight-see

 


As you can clearly see, I tend to be overly ambitious.  But my philosophy on these types of lists is, realistically I know I’m not going to be able to do everything on the list.  But I’d rather make a big list of things I want to do to build excitement and do as many things on there as possible, as opposed to only having like 5 things, and feeling like “ehh I’ve got time, there’s no rush…” that just seems boring.

My ultimate goal is to see things in a new light… to view the world differently, as if there were no boundaries!!  I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and see what all I am truly capable of!! 🙂

Have you made any Bucket Lists??  Or any 5 or 10 year goals??  If so what are they?